Advaita ​(‘non-duality’): the teaching that there is only one reality (Atman, Brahman), especially as
found in the Upanishads; see also Vedanta
Ahimsa ​(‘non-harming’): non-violence to self or others in thought or action
Ananda ​(‘bliss’): the condition of divine joy, which is an essential quality of the ultimate reality
Anga ​(‘limb’): a fundamental category of the Yogic path, such as the eight limbs of Ashtanga—asana,
dharana, dhyana, niyama, pranayama, pratyahara, samadhi, yama
Angustha​: big toe
Asana ​(‘seat’): a physical posture originally meaning only meditation posture. But subsequently, in
Hatha Yoga, this aspect of the Yogic path was greatly developed, Asana now meaning a static
physical position
Ardha ​(‘half’): used often in descriptions of asana; i.e. ‘Ardha Chandrasana’ or half-moon posture
Atman ​(‘self’): the transcendental Self, or Spirit, which is eternal—our true nature or identity
Avidya ​(‘ignorance’): the root cause of suffering (Duhkha)
Ayurveda ​(‘life knowledge’): one of India’s traditional systems of medicine
Baddha​: caught; restrained; bound
Bakasana​: crow posture
Balasana​: child’s pose
Bhakti​: (‘devotion’): the love of the Divine or the Guru as a manifestation of the Divine
Bhakti Yoga​: (‘yoga of devotion’): a major branch of the yoga tradition, using emotions to connect
with the ultimate reality
Bhujangasana​: serpent posture
Brahmacharya ​(from brahma and acharya—‘brahmic conduct’): the discipline of selfrestraint,
pertaining to sexual conduct
Brahman ​(‘that which has grown expansive’): the ultimate reality
Chakra ​(‘wheel’): a psycho-energetic center of the subtle body
Chaturanga Dandasana​: four-limbed staff posture
Cit ​(‘consciousness): the super-conscious ultimate reality
Citta ​(‘that which is conscious’): ordinary consciousness, the mind, as opposed to cit
Danda​: ‘staff’
Dandasana​: staff posture
Drishti: ​(‘view/sight’): a point of gaze such as at the tip of the nose or the spot between the eyebrows
Gayatri-mantra: ​a famous Vedic mantra, one of the oldest in the yoga tradition

Guna ​(‘quality’): refers to any of the three primary ‘qualities’ or constituents of nature – tamas (the
principle of inertia), rajas (the dynamic principle), and sattva (the principle of lucidity)
Hasta​: hand
Hatha Yoga ​(‘forceful yoga’: a major branch of yoga emphasizing the physical aspects of the path,
notably postures (asana), and cleansing techniques (shodhana), but also breath control (Pranayama).
Hatha refers to the relationship of opposites
Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika ​(‘Light on Hatha Yoga’): one of the classical manuals on Hatha Yoga
Janu​: knee
Jivan-mukti ​(‘living liberation’): the state of liberation while being embodied
Jnana ​(‘knowledge/wisdom’): both worldly knowledge and world-transcending wisdom
Kali​: a goddess embodying the fiery aspect of the Divine
Kali-yuga​: the dark age of spiritual and moral decline, said to be current now. An age where light is
needed desperately
Karma ​(‘action’): activity of any kind
Karma Yoga ​(‘yoga of action’): the liberating path of self-transcending action
Karna​: ear
Kona ​(‘angle’): as in Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose)
Kosha ​(‘casing’): any one of five ‘envelopes’ surrounding the transcendental Self
Kumbhaka ​(‘pot-like’): breath retention during Pranayama
Kundalini-shakti ​(‘coiled power’): the serpent power or spiritual energy, which exists at the lowest
energetic center of the body which must be awakened and guided to the center at the crown to
awaken fully
Kundalini Yoga​: the yogic path focusing on the kundalini energy as a means of liberation
Mantra​: a sacred sound or phrase, such as om or om namah shivaya, that has a transformative effect
Mantra Yoga​: the yogic path utilizing mantras as the primary means of practice
Matsyendra ​(‘Lord of Fishes’): an early Tantric master—the seated twist is named after him
Maya ​(‘she who measures’): the illusory manifestation of Consciousness
Muhka​: face
Nada ​(‘sound’): the inner sound, as it can be heard through the practice of Nada Yoga by closing the
flaps of the ears
Nadi ​(‘conduit’): one of 72,000 subtle channels along which the life force (prana) circulates, of which
the three most important ones are the ida-nadi, pingala-nadi, and sushumna nadi
Nadi Shodhana ​(‘channel cleansing’): the practice of purifying the conduits, especially by means of
breath control, which moves the body’s subtle energies (Pranayama)
Namaskara​: greeting or salutation
Nava​: boat

Niyama ​(‘self-restraint’): the second limb of Patanjali’s Eightfold Path, which consists of purity
(saucha), contentment (santosha), austerity (tapas), study (svadhyaya), and dedication to the Lord
Om​: the original mantra symbolizing the ultimate reality
Pachima​: west
Pada​: foot
Padma​: lotus
Patanjali​: compiler of the Yoga Sutras
Prana ​(‘life/breath’): the life force sustaining the body
Pranayama ​(from prana and ayama): the practice of movement of prana by the use of the breath
Pratyahara ​(‘withdrawal’): sensory inhibition, the fifth limb (anga) of Patanjali’s Eightfold Path
Parsva​: side
Parivrtta​: twisted or revolved
Prasarita​: spread out
Purusha​: the transcendental Self (atman) or Spirit
Raja​: king
Sadhana ​(‘accomplishing’): spiritual discipline leading to siddhi (‘perfection’ or ‘accomplishment’); the
term is specifically used in Tantra
Samadhi ​(‘putting together’): the state in which the meditator becomes one with the object of
meditation, the eighth limb (anga) of Patanjali’s Eightfold Path
Samsara​: the inconstant world of change, as opposed to the ultimate reality
Samskara​: the subconscious impression left behind by each act of volition; akin to a predisposition for
certain behaviors which results in Karma
Sarvangasana​: shoulder-stand posture
Sat ​(‘being/reality/truth’): the ultimate Consciousness
Satya ​(‘truth/truthfulness’): truth, a designation of the ultimate Reality; also the practice of truthfulness,
which is an aspect of moral discipline (yama)
Shakti ​(‘power’): the ultimate Reality in its feminine, creative aspect
Shakti-pata ​(‘descent of power’): the process of initiation by means of the transmission of shakti by an
advanced or even enlightened adept (siddha)
Shankara​: the eighth-century adept who was the greatest proponent of non-dualism (Advaita
Sirsasana​: headstand
Shiva ​(‘He who is benign’): the Divine, the unmanifested energy
Shiva-Sutra ​(‘Shiva’s Aphorisms’): like the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a classical work on yoga, as
taught in the Shaivism of Kashmir; authored by Vasugupta (ninth century C.E.)

Shodhana ​(‘cleansing/purification’): a category of purification practices in Hatha Yoga
Shraddha ​(‘faith’): a pure and constant state of faith
Siddha ​(‘accomplished’): a Tantric adept
Siddha Yoga​: a designation applied especially to the yoga of Kashmiri Shaivism, as taught by Swami
Spanda ​(‘vibration’): Kashmir’s Shaivism’s understanding that ultimate Reality itself ‘vibrates;’ a
non-sequential pulse of creation
Supta​: sleeping, lying down
Surya​: sun
Sushumna-nadi​: the central prana current in or along which the serpent power (kundalini shakti)
must ascend toward the crown chakra
Sutra ​(‘thread’): a short verse; a work consisting of aphoristic statements, such as Patanjali’s Yoga
Sutras or Vasugupta’s Shiva-Sutra
Svana​: ‘dog’
Tantra ​(‘loom’ or ‘to weave’): Sanskrit work containing Tantric teachings; the tradition of Tantrism, in
which the human body is seen as a condensation of the Supreme
Tapas ​(‘glow/heat’): austerity, a purifying heat of discipline
Tattva ​(‘thatness’): a fact or reality; a particular category of existence; the manner in which universal
consciousness has stepped itself down in vibration to create the physical world—the ‘Tattvas’
Tri​: three
Upanishad ​(‘sitting near’): a type of scripture representing revealed wisdom
Upavistha​: seated
Urdhva​: upward
Utthita​: extended
Vairagya​: ‘dispassion’
Vasistasana​: side arm balance